I asked many people over the Christmas break if they had any particular New Year’s resolutions, but most people said that they don’t believe in them. In fact most sounded utterly turned off by the idea of making some plans for January, convinced they would drop any commitment by February at the latest. So, are New Year’s Resolutions a good idea or do they just add unnecessary stress and pressure to the gloomy month of January?
If you look up resolutions in the dictionary then the first meaning is “finding a solution to a problem” and the second one “a decision to do something or behave in a certain manner”. After the festive season -with the benefit of a clean slate in the New Year-, I guess that time of year does lend itself well to making some resolute plans. I found that most people have strong doubts with regards to their own tenacity and determination, so the very reason for not making plans is because they do not trust themselves to see it through. So when people say to me “I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions”, they really mean “I don’t believe I will stick to it and see it through”.
We often count our failures and keep a long list of when we have let ourselves down. In addition we re-live those moments over and over when we account those stories to other people. After time it becomes a way of life. No doubt there are plenty of times when you haven’t let yourself down and success was the end result, yet often people let the negative weigh much heavier on the scales of experience.
So, New Year’s resolution or not? Should you –out of fear of disappointment- just slide into the year and see where it gets you? Treat 2013 as just another year, another bleak January and wait for spring to come? Research and experience teaches us that having an intention and a purpose ultimately allows you to achieve so much more. There is this innate quality in people that thrives when having a goal to aim for. And then there is the question of being able to measure progress, something that the 21st century attitude is so keen on. By not having a target, you will never know whether you actually came anywhere near…
Of course my coaching head says to set some New Year’s resolutions, to go about your life with intend and re-set the goals along the way. Being behind the steering wheel is ultimately the place to be if you want to go places. Maybe you will surprise yourself this year, as you boldly step over the fear of letting yourself down. If your goal is important enough to you, then you won’t. But simultaneously you can’t control everything in life. Occasionally you need to stop the car and assess the scenery, the roads and signs along it. Somewhere in between lies the happy medium. You can live your life in any way you see fit, you can determine how 2013 will evolve for you, but at the same time read those all important omens that guide you along the way. The difference between those who live a successful life and those who do not, is only what they see and how they translate it to themselves. Successful people have an open mind to see opportunities and operate from a base-point that things will turn out well. Now there’s a philosophy worth living by.
I had to go out to get the last few things of my Christmas shopping list. It was decided –quite rightly- that it was best that I did that on my own. So my husband dropped me off with the boys in the back of the car. I had a sense that there was some boy’s time coming up and then I am never entirely sure what I will find when I get home.
I indulged in walking around in my own bubble, browsing and making decisions without the frantic keeping an eye on my children who are normally totally inappropriately playing hide and seek in any shop I go into. Sometimes it is “tag” for variation. Shopping with the kids is one of the most stressful things I ever encounter. Inevitably I end up going home with only items of the highest necessity. So to be out on my own –albeit amidst hundreds of other Christmas shoppers- was a delight. I even managed to get a sneaky hot chocolate and sandwich in at Starbucks, which made me feel super indulgent. Crazy really, but it’s time not money or anything else, that the most valuable commodity these days.
I felt a different person when “the boys” picked me up. You would have thought I had had a day in a Spa, complete with pedicure, yet I had 2 hours by myself shopping for other people! There was a buzz in the car. Like I thought, the boys had been up to things.
So I was ordered to close my eyes and my sons guided me into the house by the hand. They were bursting with excitement (or sugar, one of the two or both) and when they opened the door there on the kitchen surface stood not only a very cute gingerbread house but it was surrounded by 30 homemade and personally decorated Christmas cookies… it really looked lovely. My husband stood smiling in the doorway feeling very pleased with himself, as this was his first baking experience. And the boys tucked straight in as now I had seen it there was no need to hold back any longer.
Christmas time consists of such simple pleasures.